Vancouver’s Web 2.0 Companies on a Translink Map

Techcouver.comA couple of months back, my friend Rob Lewis had an idea for a little Web project. Rob’s the new CEO of Techvibes, and has the enticing challenge of transforming it from a creaky, Web 1.0 social network to something compelling and relevant in 2007.

Rob saw this map of the web in Montreal, and figured we could do something similar in Vancouver. I decided to use Translink’s familiar zone map as a background, so I set to work painstakingly recreating it.

We planned to announce our little project at BarCamp, so we decided to produce the first map with Vancouver’s Web 2.0 companies. We partnered with the good folks at Bluelime Media to turn my map into a site, and I really dig the retro fridge theme they came up with.

You can check it out at

Some Pretty Vague Criteria

We did our best to identify as many appropriate local companies as we could. My criteria were pretty vague, frankly, but then, so is the term itself. If we missed your company, apologies. There’s a link on the site to get added to the map–just click the fortune cookie fortune (odd, but grammatically correct, I think). I know Rob’s already received a couple of requests.

All of the companies that we found are clustered around downtown, so you kind of lose the whole Translink zone map effect. It’s a pity, too, because it took me hours to trace from Bowen Island to the Fraser Valley. Ah well, a future map will no doubt feature companies in suburban business parks.

Subsequent maps might include mobility companies, medium and large tech companies and so forth. Eventually we might even create some slick Ajax interface which enables us to fit all the companies on one map. For now, though, they’re categorized.

Here’s an interesting tidbit: in doing this project, I discovered that you can open up and modify Translink’s incredibly detailed PDF maps in Adobe Illustrator. That wasn’t any use to me and my zone map, but it’s a top tip if you need to hack up a map of Vancouver.


  1. Darren,
    Next time you need another map, let me know and I can export an Illustrator file for you from my geographic software.

    Tracing outlines sucks ass.

    Cartographically, those detailed Transit maps look good. I’ve never designed a map from PDF into Illustrator before but my workplace, we regularly export geographic features into AI or Freehand for nicer modifications later. It’s then exported into a PDF formats for distribution.

    I long for the days where geographic software will be able to produce fine map details as easily as AI can. But that’s asking a lot….

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